Dilbert Stole a Ziggy (I Mean, a Barney)!

If you're a fan of Seinfeld (or former fan, after Michael Richards' Tourette's-like outburst), you'll remember the episode where Elaine got a cartoon published in the New Yorker. Unfortunately for her, the idea was lifted subconsciously from a Ziggy.

Well, Scott Adams of Dilbert fame did the very same thing to yours truly. My October 2006 Redmond column was entitled "Bill for President."

In late November, Adams had the exact same brilliant idea which he wrote up with great fanfare on his blog.

Now, media all over the world are jumping on this bandwagon, and giving Adams all the credit. Hey, aren't he and his awful cartoon famous enough already?

The wheels really started to turn when Paul McNamara, a former employee of mine at Network World, picked up on the Adams post.

Then Slashdot, which was offered my column for its readers to make fun of, promoted the "Adams" idea.

Now, I'm calling on loyal Redmond readers from across the globe to right this grievous wrong. Let these bloggers, pundits and hack cartoonists know where the idea really came from -- a hack blogger and pundit from Redmond magazine!

For the real story, go to a source you can really trust.

Google: Get 'Em While They're Young
Apple had an Ivan Putski-class lock on the education market in the 1980s -- that is, until Microsoft started giving away and steeply discounting software for schools. The Apple II and Mac may have been cute, but free is free, and cheap is cheap.

Google is now trying to do the same thing to Microsoft. The company is not just giving away spreadsheets and word processors (these Google apps are, after all, already free), but is offering to store students' and teachers' files. Ten years from now, we may look back and view this as the time Google's application monopoly first started to emerge!

Web Access Spreads, Thanks to Bill!
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses far more on tough issues, like malaria, than high-tech ones, but that didn't stop it from giving $17.5 million to fund Internet access in libraries in Botswana, Latvia and Lithuania.

This is an attempt to let these countries catch up, at least a little bit, to the U.S., where nearly all libraries are connected. Wonder how many users will be Googling versus. using MSN or Live Search?

Novell To Keep Tabs on Redmond Deal
Novell exec Susan Heystee has been picked to oversee the patent and interoperability deal with Microsoft. Sometimes, these deals are window dressing and PR, in which case Heystee's job will be as easy as that of a security guard at a convent. But with Microsoft and Novell already quibbling over patents, Heystee could be burning the midnight oil.

Who's a Rat?
A year ago, I ran across whosarat.com, a site where snitches and informants are exposed. I didn't quite know what to think.

Some of the profiles indicated that the informants were bigger dirt bags than the folks they finked on. But it seemed a rather dangerous undertaking. Bikers, the mob and gang members aren't always shy when it comes to revenge, and having your name, photo and address plastered on a Web site about rats isn't the healthiest thing in the world.

The authorities are becoming increasingly worried that this site will make informants targets. However, most of the material comes from records that are publicly available, so an angry party who does enough legwork can get it anyway.

What do you think? Is whosarat.com an example of free speech, a public service or a dangerous site that should be shut down? Let us know at [email protected].

Oh, and whosarat.com is now a paid site.

Doug's Mailbag: Bill on the Ballot
This whole Adams mess aside, here's one heartening sign that my own "Bill for President" rallying cry hasn't fallen off your radars:

I saw your thought-provoking piece on your Web site (thank BBspot for that) about Bill Gates running for president. Although I don't like using his products, and his business ethics are questionable, they are not more so than that of many other businessmen.

I have read that he mentioned his party lifestyle as a younger man as a possible detriment to political life, but you already had a president who did not inhale and you now have one who, when he was young and irresponsible, was young and irresponsible. I can't imagine Gates would be worse (and build a global empire). His business and technology notwithstanding, Gates is still fairly young, extremely well-versed in foreign policy (he has talked with many more big names than anyone realizes, I bet) and he knows how to broker a deal. On top of that, he is undeniably a very smart man.

If that were not enough, what makes him a fantastic candidate, in my opinion, is that he of all people would be impervious to the special interest temptation. You could not possibly offer him money as an incentive; it'd be like offering the ocean to spit in it. He would be able to finance his entire political campaign out of his own pocket, without needing anyone else. He could buy anyone who came up to him with a bag of money -- and probably buy their company, to boot. To me, that is a very powerful factor for electing him president. He knows what sharks businessmen are, has professional courtesy, and he could simply scoff at anyone offering him cash.

Unless (and with someone of his caliber you have to assume there will be a skeleton somewhere) there was something seriously wrong, he would no doubt make a great candidate. He needs no introduction, all the world knows him and he has the qualities and the opportunity. You're right, he'd be a perfect candidate. As long as he doesn't have to demo his products, he'd be OK. I don't think there would be a more suitable and realistic candidate since the founding fathers.

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below or e-mailing me at [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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